Girl the beagle

DSCN3012-3<The flash reflected off her face strangely here and I’m a “picasa easy fixes only” kind of person, not a perfessional. Her face is really almost all caramel brown and doesn’t look like a mask, as it does here. See next photo or wait for the next blog entry with 4 dozen more.>

I’ve always wondered what Girl might have been like as a puppy, and with Fanny I thought I might find out. And I have.

Now if you have kids I’ve probably listened to you talk about everything from their poopy color and consistency to little Muffin being so advanced for his/her age, so please indulge me while I discuss what I’ve learned in the past couple of weeks.

  • Puppies have lots of energy. Tons of energy. So much energy I sometimes want to cry. Seriously considered another dog but am now sober resorting planning on seriously considering doggy day care 1 day/week. It costs more than a Pilates session (not that I do that, but now I for sure can’t). It’s still cheaper than another dog.
  • ‘Mature in body’ does not equal ‘maturity in mind.’ Please note that I knew this before I got Fanny. How many times did I wittily remark that “in some ways they are always puppies.” How little did I realize what I was saying. Love IS blind.
  • I have laughed more in the past 3 weeks than in the previous 3 months.
  • When she (maybe all dogs that dig?) digs holes she furiously digs, then stops and listens for (something) literally with ear to the ground in the hole, then keeps digging until either distracted or yelled at? Literally – ear to the ground.
  • Fanny saw a dog on tv. It ran off screen. Fanny ran around for the next couple of minutes trying to find the dog. She looked and barked at behind the tv, sniffed and barked at the front door, opened the shutters in the big front window and barked, went out to the back yard and barked. There was a lot of barking involved. Girl never barked except to yowl at a rabbit.
  • I’ve left the (so far) most humiliating for last: I’ve adopted a horndog. My neighbor was over the other night and just loved Fanny. Fanny loved her too. So much so that Fanny mounted her leg a few times. I just did not know what to do. Neighbor has raised several dogs so I let her decide. She sat there for a good 30 seconds, acting like Meg Ryan in the infamous “I’ll have what she’s having” diner scene in Sleepless in Seattle. She then asked Fanny if it was good for her.  I swear this is true.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a one-time deal and now my back and my leg have been her latest, uh, conquests. She is fixed so I really don’t have a clue what’s going on here. I swear I know more about raising children than I do this little puppy, and I confess I called her ‘Little Satan’ yesterday.

It’s quite vexing actually.



She sometimes kept her nose down to the ground and didn’t look up to see that the rabbit she was looking for was right in front of her. Lesson: Don’t be so focused that you can’t see what’s right in front of you.


She also never gave up hoping things would change, recur or that she could get away with them for once. She never gave up…

  • trying to eat cat poop
  • thinking there must be more BBQ goodness under that pit despite having just licked every crevice for the last 20 minutes (see photo above for a post-bbq lickfest picture —- grease-a-rama!)
  • thinking she’d get another rabbit from under the same bush she found one 5 years ago
  • thinking I’d really give her <insert name of food here> off my plate
  • trying to fit under the couch.

Lesson: Do not see obstacles. Do not think of the past too much. Never give up hope. Ever.



Lots going on, not too much “good” or clever to say, but this should describe one of the many “current events” in my life:

Dear Robyn, Bill, Janice, Jo, and everyone at SDI,

I’ve been postponing this long enough (one thing Girl has taught me is to ‘hope despite all evidence to the contrary’), but I am finally submitting Girl’s and my formal retirement from TOUCH.

Although we were never as active in TOUCH as I’d hoped we’d be (first her back, then her OD on doggy Advil, now her imminent death), SDI and the TOUCH trainers made such an impact on me, especially in teaching me to work with with Girl.

Remember: Girl was a puppy mill breeding dog and had never even been on-leash until I got her. Plus, I was a first-time dog person. Your unending patience with me during training enabled me to bring out the best in Girl when we did our visits.

All the “pain” we (I) went through during the training was totally worth it on our very first facility visit. She was lifted (with permission and a cover to sit on) to a patient’s bed and immediately rolled onto her back for him to pet her tummy, which the patient just loved. After a long while I hinted about moving on to the next visit and I was told that I could go, but the dog had to stay!

That immediately made all the efforts and frustration and sheer work totally worth it.

While doing TOUCH, I also never expected to see a tangible, obvious, and direct benefit to a patient (other than a fleeting pleasure), but Girl helped one person in particular more than I could’ve guessed:

As you know, we visit facilities and do not know (or ask) why a person is there. I know we visited brain injury patients in lock-down wards, people recovering from various surgeries or neurological problems, but that was really the extent of it. You don’t know the purpose of the patient’s stay, you just know why you are there.

One night (at the StL Rehab. Institute) we walked into a room and I greeted an older woman who was sitting upright at the edge of her bed, wearing her own bed clothes, and seemingly “fine.” We started chatting informally while she pet Girl.

Before we left the room the rehab. therapist who accompanied us said something like “Ms. X, do you realize that while you’ve been petting Girl you’ve been speaking in complete sentences? You’ve been saying random words and couldn’t construct a sentence, but when you pet the dog you speak in sentences. We’ll get a dog in here tomorrow to aid you with your therapy.”

Unbeknownst to me (I never found out the exact problem), the woman had incurred some injury that caused her to be unable to put the right words together to form sentences. She was only able to speak random, non-sensical words – gibberish really, until she started petting the dog.

I’ve never experienced anything like it. It was literally a life-changing moment (for her and for me!) and I realized, yet again, that volunteering gives the volunteer as much as the person they are “helping.”

So as Girl nears the end of her life, I resign with the knowledge that although our work was short-lived, she made a difference to many people for a few minutes, and a few people for many minutes. I will continue to support TOUCH any way I can and look forward to someday returning as a TOUCH team volunteer.

With my deepest gratitude and appreciation,
Marie (still pronounced “mary”)


My dog jumped into the sewer the other day.



She was running through the snow at the park and stopped to sniff intently at the mouth of the sewer.

She’s gotten close to the edge of it innumerable times but never in it for godsake. This time she was really close to the edge. Again. All my threatening, menacing “Don’t you dare”s went on (literally) deaf ears.

Then somehow – before I knew what was happening – she was in it.

I actually laughed for a moment because it was – well – funny. And then I wished I had my camera.

She landed just a foot or 2 down on a bunch of leaves, and was sufficiently unconcerned enough to keep sniffing for what she wanted (thus my conclusion that she jumped and didn’t fall).

At first I was willing to wait her out. I thought “You got yourself in. Now you get yourself out.”  I’ve waited her out before.

The problem was that I didn’t know how deep the leaves were, if they could give way under her weight or what. Plus, what dog has ever responded to “You got yourself in. Now you get yourself out”???

Really, I wouldn’t have cared if I knew the status of the leaves. In the summer you can see a lot further down into the tunnel, so it would’ve been bad if it were summer, but what about now?

Was it just this layer of leaves on top of water? Was it just a big pile of leaves all the way to the bottom?  If she started dropping just how far down was that vertical tunnel?

I envisioned having to call the sewer company to get her out, much as I had envisioned calling the fire department a few years ago when she got her head stuck between two bars of an iron fence. (Hence the “You got yourself in…” philosophy.)


But after wondering about the whole leaves vs. water thing I kind of panicked and wondered how the hell to get her out of there.

Not surprisingly, a few people were looking at me leaning into the sewer so I waved, and soon there were 4 sets of hands and another set of paws over to reach in and grab her by her collar, so her neck hurt later, but guess it’s better than falling all the way to the middle earth.

What a DORK of a dog.

As a follow up, she showed absolutely no interest in the sewer today.

…Without the aid of pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs or alcohol I went to bed at 9:30 Fri. night and slept until 11:30 Saturday morning, with just a little time “in the conscious world” to feed, medicate, and let my dog and neighbor dog out. I was tie-tie.

…My fiber intake has decreased over last couple of weeks. Since I’ve previously discussed my increases (example here) I thought you should know the current state of affairs. Don’t worry, it hasn’t caused any – uh – problems yet and I promise I’m not going to provide daily poop updates.

…I’m breaking a big rule that you don’t talk about looking for a job, but “marie/y hungry” is not a pretty picture, and I’m getting a little frantic. You may know that I work (thru a contracting co.) at the Everywhere Company, which recently “combined with” the Many Other Places Company to become the Holy Crap It’s a Huge Mega Company.

Long story short, they’re in cost-cutting mode, and my job is one of the costs they’re cutting (performance, results, team builder, “plays well with others,” customer satisfaction all aside). I saw the writing on the wall this summer (here) and have been looking since July. Have gotten some great interviews and 2nd interviews but no offer yet.

I have a new so-far-so-good pimp staffing firm now (another drama I’ll skip), and want to stay with them as long as I’m in <The City I Don’t Hate But Don’t Love>. I’m loyal to a fault (and I mean literally to a fault, as this loyalty has bitten me several times) but I have 5 weeks before I go on unemployment for the 1st time in my 30 year working life.

I don’t want to hurt anyone, burn any bridges, hack anyone off or be rude, butcha know I gotta eat. I really want my new staffing co. to come through for me, but I’d be stupid to put my whole stomach in one party’s hands. (Can you tell I’m talking myself into this as much as explaining it to you?) Again: “marie/y hungry” is not pretty. Plus it’s such a great time of year to be looking for a job…

So: if you point me in the direction that leads me to a new job in the same field and it pays close to or more than what I earn now, besides knowing you’ll get big time karma points, the prize I can offer for this contest (Omar: this IS a contest. Let me know and I’ll send you my LinkedIn URL) is that whoever helps me get some more interviews will be eliminated from the “I will house Marie/y and her 3 animals if necessary” list.

Need I say that that is worth more than any superficial prize? Yes? Well okay if you live nearby or I’m coming to visit you I’ll take you to dinner at a nice restaurant too, okay?

…product I wish I’d thought of: the Stayball. It’s a ball (obvously) that you can (among other things) use as a chair. Get it? It STAYBALLizes you. It’s a bonus that the sand in it prevents it from rolling around when you’re not sitting on it. No more tripping over the “it’s coming after me” ball after I step away from it.


…”living the dream”: Here are photos from May (selecting just “the right” already-gnawed on bone)


and the other day when I decided to finally throw them out but then decided they’d make a good picture:


In the intervening time I’ve thrown away countless (really – countless) other bones and given a big bag of the long ones to my sister to stuff (for her dog) but I’ve also switched to the small bones (trying to save $$) and my dog has now lost 3 lbs!

People might think I’m weird but I prefer to think of myself as “different,” someone who “thinks outside the box” and isn’t constrained (too much) by societal norms. Okay, re-reading this I’ll just admit what the neighbors and my friends/fam already know: I am weird albeit in a fun, lovable way.

…Compliment of the week: My physical therapist said I have excellent body mechanics. That means I bend well and properly (although obviously not well enough or I wouldn’t be seeing her).

…Today’s Words of Wisdom: Don’t buy a bag of baked BBQ Baked Lays without just admitting right off that you will eat the whole thing in one sitting. You’re just kidding yourself otherwise.

I don’t have these revelations too often (the last one) but here’s my latest helpful household hint:

For less mess (things knocked over, biological accidents, hair tumbleweeds), less work (chasing, yelling, cleaning litter boxes) and most important to the discussion at hand: to reduce the need to clean (be it vacuuming or cleaning up biological accidents that the dog doesn’t eat) simply get rid of all your animals.

Not that I practice what I preach mind you, but I am sorely tempted.

But do let me know if you’re interested in Li’l Effer, Allie the co-dependent kitty, or Girl the beagle (for whom I’m willing to forge adoption papers so you can take tax and/or medical expense deductions).

I know I’ve made them all sound so appealing over the years so I don’t really expect any takers but at least you have a new housekeeping hint to implement.

You’re welcome.

I’ve been a slacker with my blogging, I know. I’m sorry.

I think of things to write about all the time but there’s a lot going on right now and I am trying hard (and succeeding!) to get at least 8 hours of sleep too.

Here are some highlights:

***watering the garden: OK, are you done guffawing? I know it shouldn’t be a big deal, but it takes 2 hours (at least) when you’re anal and have a lot to water and have uneven water pressure. The neighbors sometimes don’t even have to water their garden but uneven water pressure also means I’ve unknowingly just spent the last 15 min. with the sprinkler watering my bricks.

It’s time-consuming! TG for those recent hurricane remnants of rain. I just can’t take 2 hours to water the damn garden twice a week (and that doesn’t include special waterings for the recent transplants – see below).

***walking the dog: I have had to actually walk my own dog every single day for the past few weeks because my normal save – my – butt – but – I – have -more – on – my – butt – as – a – result – of – not – walking – my – own – dog – enough dog walker broke his toe.

Clearly he wasn’t putting my needs ahead of his and didn’t believe me when I suggested that walking might help make him heal faster. So there’s at least an hour gone every day.

***On the other hand, if I hadn’t been out walking a few weeks ago past someone’s house and known they kept bees, I couldn’t have asked how to get the wasps out of the birdhouse. Turns out she knew who I was from the pool even though I had no idea who she was.

That was a bit embarrassing but come on? Who (besides me apparently) looks the same in wet in their swimming suit as they do on dry land?! Anyway, if I hadn’t been walking my very own dog I wouldn’t have had her send her husband (the beekeeper) over.

***socializing with the neighbors: it’s been so nice out that all the peeps have been outside. This often turns a walk around the block into a “hell yes I’ll have a drink to delay my walk catch up with you.”

***This will be its own post soon (depending on how you define “soon”), but Extreme Makeover Home Edition has been in MY humble burg, about 3 blocks away. Since god forbid I should walk without the dog and you can’t bring dogs into their 3 block perimeter, I have only seen the actual site once (with the neighbor girls of course – see below).

But I have chatted with show security guards Fletch and Hulk Hogan look-alike-guy, and with the second female cop in our town (still waiting for a non-caucasian, but despite the diversity of the population, the administration is dragging behind a bit) and with a cop from the adjacent town (I knew he was from the adjacent town not just because of his different cop car, but also because he’s not caucasian. How sad is that.

I also talked to the nice cop who pulled me over and didn’t give me a ticket (versus the other 2 that did). So look back here soon’ish for the real scoop on how they do Extreme Makeover Home Edition. It’s pretty amazing really.

***Driving 15 miles (3 times) to dig up someone else’s garden (with their permission). Long story short, the garden had to be removed (which is akin to murder IMHO), so I went on 3 rescue missions. I would’ve gone on a 4th but they tore it up before I could get back.

I’d like to say I’ve also planted everything I got, but that’s not the case. Please don’t tell my mother that most of the plants I’m “temporarily planting” until her next bed is ready are still in the buckets 1 1/2 months after being dug up. Dear god it’s been all I can do to water, not to mention plant all this extra crap.

***The neighbor girls coming over: There’s an 7’ish year-old behind me and a 4 year-old next to HER, and they’re buddies. The 7 year-old, named Lydia (pictured in this post), has a “fort” in their yard. Whenever she (and her siblings before her) are bored or are just outside and I come out, she yells out (from the top of the fort where she’s been waiting to see me come out) “Hi Mawy Kafrine! What are you doooing?” which of course is quickly followed by “Can we come ovuh?”

So me being the sucker I am let her and/or Bella (the 4 year old) come over. Sometimes we “play” in the garden (they weed or dig a hole!), sometimes we have sherbet on the back porch, Bella has helped make pesto, and we all 3 walked over (with the dog) to deliver a gooey-butter cake to the security staff, since you can’t come to this city and NOT have one. It’s the only city that even has them.

Sometimes the girls come over and actually play, but when they look back later, they’ll realize how much free labor I got out of ’em. Anyhoo, imagine going outside and having cute kids invite themselves over. I tell them no at least twice for every once, but they sure are outside a lot…

***J-o-b hunting: THAT’s the task that’s really eating up my time. Plus I have an added complication, which I’ll discuss at a future – but – soon date, but all those customized cover letters about why I would be such a great addition to your fabulous company are time-consuming.

I’ve been lucky and have made some headway (i.e.-interviews) but I don’t believe in waiting until you hear from one until you apply for the next one, so I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire. I started a spreadsheet, and even contemplated a database, but I’d rather use a chisel and stone spreadsheet than Access, so that’s how I’m doing it. Plus, filters on my email and a folder on my hard drive. It’s simple, really.

***FINALLY finished reading the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel, (discussed here) which was fascinating, if a little tedious (maxed it out at 9 weeks checked out of the library). The authors present a compelling case that Michaelangelo’s work for the catholic church is actually a subversive eff-you that brings in the Talmud, Kabbalah, Midrash, and other non – church – sanctioned perspectives and symbolism that are illustrated in the chapel’s ceiling. fackinating.

***What I haven’t been doing: reading the Buddha book. My greatest failing this summer, besides not planting those plants yet. I maxed it out at 9 weeks, got a replacement from the other library for another 2 weeks, and then maxed out the city libarry copy again and still never got past page 59.

How am I supposed to learn more about calming and centering and philosophy and if I want to study this more, if I can’t even concentrate on a book about it?! Seems like a trick to me.

Well, if that’s my biggest failure this summer I think I can live with myself. I have a resin Lowe’s Buddha in the garden so that’s gotta count for something, right?

So bear with me while I sort through all these activities. OMG, I haven’t even posted the contest winner and my comments about the submissions, or the last 3 dead animals on the porch. Well, I also haven’t paid my bills for a couple of weeks now, so I’m betting that given a choice between the two, I will first post then pay. My priorities are in line…

Next Page »